Swarms of DPS ninth graders explored future college and career opportunities as they toured the two colleges and one university housed at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver today. Denver Public Schools hosted its eighth annual Ninth-Grade College Expo on Tuesday morning to better prepare students for success after graduation.
“We wanted all of our students to step foot onto this campus and know what’s possible for their future,” said North High School counselor Kathy Hoffman as to why educators brought every freshman in the class of 2021 to the Ninth Grade College Expo.
Designed to expose students to higher education at a younger age, the expo offered an exciting day of college exploration highlighting resources and lessons learned from DPS graduates who’ve gone on to college. Nearly 2,000 ninth graders from more than 20 DPS high schools had the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff and students from three institutions of higher education, Metropolitan State College of Denver (Metro State), University of Colorado Denver (UCD) and Community College of Denver (CCD). The ninth-grade students participated in various tours, student panels, resource fairs and other activities throughout the day.
One of the five goals in the Denver Plan 2020, DPS’ five-year strategic plan, is to ensure students graduate high school ready for college and career. The expo not only gives ninth graders a glimpse into the possibility of college, but also allows them to make connections between their current coursework and their future college and career aspirations. The expo also provides high school students the chance to meet face-to-face with college students from a variety of backgrounds.
“Being from Colorado my whole life, I definitely wanted to stay here,” Kenneth Chavez, a junior studying business at UCD, shared with a packed room of ninth graders during the student panel question and answer session. “I felt like this campus downtown offered a lot of opportunities. The diversity of the students here is one of my favorite things about this campus.”
“I’m a transfer student. I started my freshman year at a school in Durango because I wanted to go somewhere away from home,” added Alejandra Martinez, a senior at Metro State and East High School alumna. “I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. So, I transferred here to Metro because the degree I wanted in Elementary Education is so great. I realized that even though it’s so close to home, Metro has awesome programs and is a place where I have been able to succeed.”
The high school students toured campus buildings and learned about student activity groups, scholarships and application assistance at the resource fair. Students also attended a session titled “College 101,” an interactive workshop highlighting integral college and career opportunities for students. The expo supports the development of students’ Individual Career and Academic Plans, the personalized career and academic planning tool which evaluates all aspects of a student’s path to college and career.